Speaking Test Strategies 23 Sophisticated intonation

Intonation can go up or down

This lesson will show you a couple of ways to use intonation naturally and confidently.


What is intonation? There are three ways that words can be stressed. Can you think of them? 

Warm Up: 

Here is a test question. Try to answer smoothly, and pay attention to your intonation. 


Let's do three exercises to quickly improve your intonation. Your teacher will introduce each one. 

1. Intensifiers and strong adjectives

Use stress as the intensifier as much as you can.

  1. My best childhood memory is...
  2. The biggest problem facing the economy is...
  3. Sushi is fantastic
  4. The biggest threat to work-life balance is going to be AI. If humans have to compete with machines, we'll be working so hard. It's going to be really tough
2. Lists 

Use list intonation.

  1. Food in Tokyo is amazing, and there's a lot of variety. You can find good Chinese, Italian, French, and of course, Japanese. 
  2. My vacation was good, I relaxed on the beach, had some cocktails, went swimming and didn't even think about work. 
  3. My hometown is in the countryside, so there's a lot of nature: rivers, mountains, and fields. In spring, there are cherry blossoms, and in autumn, there are red leaves. It's gorgeous. 
3. Opposites

Stress the auxiliary verb in these patterns: 

  1. My hometown might not be cheap, but it is a fun city! 
  2. Nuclear power might not be perfect, but it is a good option.   
  3. My hometown might not be the most convenient, but it is beautiful. 

Now try using both lists and opposites to give your real opinions about your city, your last vacation, and your hometown. 


Now try answering some speaking test questions. Remember to aim for natural intonation.